Your maid is the one who picks your kids up from school everyday without fail. She ensures that your elderly parents do not forget to take their medication on time.
She will prepare a scrumptious meal for the family when you are too tired to even enter the kitchen after an exhausting day at work.
Your maid is the extra pair of hands in your household that you can always depend on when you need it most. The last thing you would want is for that ever-reliable pair of hands to leave your household and you would have to go through the whole process of hiring another helper.
Therefore, it is important that you make an effort to get closer to the person whom you trust to be spending more time with your kids than you.
Here are 8 ways that will help you build a better relationship with your maid.
1. Make her feel comfortable
It is important to ensure that your maid feels comfortable in her new working environment.
You can start by making sure that she has a proper space to reside in comfortably.
This means that your maid should be able to have a decent amount of living space where she can store her personal belongings and rest properly. If you are unclear on what exactly entails a proper accommodation, you can follow this list of criteria provided by Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
Ensure that your domestic worker’s accommodation meets the following criteria:
- There has to be proper shelter from the elements of the weather.
- Basic amenities such as a mattress, pillow and a blanket should be provided.
- Make sure that the room has sufficient ventilation. An electrical fan should also be provided if the ventilation is poor.
- Ensure that there are no harmful equipment or substances in the room (e.g. dangerous mechanical tools or chemicals).
- For considerations of modesty, domestic workers are not allowed to share a room with a male adult or teenager.
- Ensure that your domestic worker has adequate space and privacy. The best way to administer this is to provide a separate room for your domestic worker.
Once your maid feels comfortable, she will be able to focus more on carrying out the duties given to her.
She might even be more motivated to keep the house clean as it feels like her second home.
2. Tell her your expectations
Your maid is not a mind reader because if she could read minds, she would not be working in this profession.
State your expectations of her from the start clearly so as to avoid any misalignment of expectations in the future.
The best way to avoid any potential misunderstandings is to write down a list of tasks or duties that you expect her to do. Doing this will definitely make life easier for both you and your maid as she can simply refer to the list if she happens to forget any of the stated tasks.
Valuable time and effort will also be saved in the process as you do not have to constantly remind her of the everyday tasks that she has to complete.
However, you should still be there to guide her along the way especially if she requires further clarifications. This will reduce the occurrence of potential conflicts between you and your helper with regards to expectation differences.
To make things easier, both you and your maid can agree upon a working contract. The contract may contain terms from this simple checklist:
- Employment period
- Duties to perform
- Working hours per day
- Off days
- Household rules
- Meal arrangements
- Medical expenses and leave
- Use of phone
- Terms for termination of contract
3. Lead by example
Every household has its own set of house rules. Therefore, you should not expect your maid to be able to magically perform every task given to her according to your standard. What you can do in this situation is to lead by example.
Show her how you would like each household chore to be carried out. Demonstrating the do’s and don’ts to her is more effective than simply telling her verbally.
This will allow her to adapt to her new working environment in a shorter period of time. Furthermore, your maid will appreciate the gesture of you leading by example. It means that you are not expecting her to complete tasks that even you yourself are unable to complete.
4. Encourage her to communicate with you
Communication is the key to all relationships, including the relationship between you and your maid. It is important that you take the time and effort in talking to your maid.
This helps to clear any doubts or issues that she may have regarding any household rules. Most domestic workers usually take some time to open up as they may still be getting used to their new working environment.
Do not assume that everything is fine just because your maid did not raise up an issue or problem.
Instead, you should take the initiative and encourage your maid to voice her concerns. Assure her that she can always share her worries, both work related and personal, with you.
Always remember that English may not be your maid’s first language and that your language might be too profound or abstract for her to understand at times, especially since most Singaporeans are used to speaking ‘singlish’ at home.
Therefore, you should be more patient when communicating your instructions as it might take longer for her to understand. You can even teach your helper a few ‘singlish’ phrases as time goes on. This will make her life easier when she has to visit the market to buy groceries for your family.
5. Build trust with your maid
In the event that she makes mistakes or fails to perform certain duties, refrain from scolding her. Instead, you should try to talk to her privately.
A good tip is to treat your maid the same way you would want your employer to treat you. Refrain from scolding her for her wrongdoings immediately. You have the option of helping her to realise and correct her mistakes in a more tactful manner.
Also, giving your maid some personal time and space by allowing her to leave the house during her off days conveys a sense of trust in her. This shows that you trust your maid to make her own decisions in spending her free time.
Greater trust will definitely strengthen your relationship with her.
6. Respect her privacy
At times, it may be easy to forget that your maid is also a human with feelings. As such, your maid should be entitled to keep her personal belongings with her. These include her financial and travel documents, such as her bank book and passport.
‘Confiscating’ her banking documents on the grounds of safekeeping would not only result in a sense of distrust between you and your maid, but it might distract her from carrying out her daily chores competently. It is difficult to concentrate on your job if you are unable to check if you are getting paid.
Retaining ownership of her own bank account is very important to domestic workers. It is their only way of sending remittance to their families back in their home countries. You should always try to give your maid her privacy whenever it is appropriate.
Similarly, you should also ask your helper to respect your privacy in return. For instance, she should not be looking through the personal belongings of you and your family without your permission. Respecting of privacy will only be successful if it is mutual.
7. Reward her
It is human nature to want to feel appreciated. It is essential for your maid to feel that her efforts are appreciated. You can make her feel your appreciation by rewarding her when she has done a good job.
Rewards can take the form of monetary, such as monthly bonuses, or an extra day off during the week. Even a simple gesture like cooking a homecooked meal for her goes a long way in showing your appreciation.
When your maid recognises your gratitude for her, she would be motivated to be more consistent in her work. She might even go the extra mile to care for you and your family as a result of that.
Rewarding your maid will also provide a sense of satisfaction in completing her chores. As a result, there will be a higher level of productivity in your household.
8. Involve her with family outings
Finally, for your maid to truly feel part of the family, you should try to include her in your family gatherings or outings. Family outings are the best opportunities for your maid to bond with your family as everyone will be having a good time.
Of course, it will also be a blessing to have an extra pair of hands available during family outings in the park. You will definitely be glad that your maid is there with you when your kids decide to run a marathon around the park that day.
You should also make it a point to celebrate your maid’s birthday along with the birthdays of your family members. This will undoubtedly cultivate a sense of belonging in her with your family.
It is much easier to establish a closer relationship with your maid when she views herself as a valued member of the family. Integrating your maid into your family also goes a long way in minimising potential disputes and conflicts in the relationship.
Building a better relationship with your maid will certainly result in higher productivity. It also creates a more positive living environment for everyone in your household, including her. Maintaining a positive relationship with your maid will make it easier for her to love working under your household more. She might even come to see your family members as her own.
Having a strong relationship with your maid can prove to be worthwhile even after her contract with you expires. Why? If you are planning to visit her home country for a vacation in the future, you can just get her as a tour guide. Despite not working for you anymore, she would still be ecstatic to be your caretaker once again.
Needless to say, there are many positive benefits to be reaped from building a better relationship with your maid!
It is never too late to build a better relationship with your maid. Start today!
Find reliable maid agencies in Singapore
SGHomeNeeds provides a list of reliable maid agencies in Singapore in the following areas:
- Full time maids in Singapore
- Part time maids in Singapore
- Maids for young children
- Maids for seniors
If you are looking for maid agencies to match your personalised requirements, you can contact SGHomeNeeds for a more quick and fuss-free experience.
If you have any further questions, you can view our maid FAQ.
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